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One of the challenge points on the Better World Books 2017 Reading […]
Stephen Raleigh Byler
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Fallen Leaf Books, IOBA
Sixth Chamber, Inc
Hues is caught in the throes of a male-dominated and sometimes violent home life and subculture. His dark memories -- rendered in vignettes between stories and serving as a backdrop for his everyday life -- intrude upon his relationships with both men and women in such a way as to remind him of his own tenderness and weakness. In "Helper, " a story preceded by a glimpse of his father and mother fighting, Hues confronts and nearly fights a man he witnesses slapping a woman in the face. "Beauty Queen, " a story set off by a vignette of his father forcing his mother on a diet, finds Hues contemplating the possibility that his own behavior may have contributed to his beauty-queen ex-wife's decision to scar her face. The later stages of the book reveal how Hues's tortured memories fuel his desire for a woman dying of cancer and his obsession with the possible presence of a violent intruder in his and his dying girlfriend's home.
In this piercing look at a man struggling to reconcile the effect of the past on his presen day actions, Byler writes about hunting, fishing, love, loss, and relationships with a sensitivity and warmth that balance the darker currents of his themes and the emotional torment of his characters. Tender and exuberant, visceral and reflective, "Searching for Intruders is a celebration of life in all of its beauty and pain. Byler's precise, artful fiction is sure to resonate with readers everywhere.
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